Can Racial Justice Be Strategically Planned?

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Abstract

Critical Race Theory (CRT) has apparently reached two conflicting conclusions about racism in the postcolonial world. The first is that racism is a permanent feature of our social order—that its power, now ossified, ensures all victories over it are illusory. The second is that racism must be permanently dismantled—that any permitted vestige is an existential threat to our every aspiration of creating sustainable societies, communities, and organizations. Whether this conflict is resolvable may be as much a matter of philosophy as practice. Philosophically, resolving the conflict may require us to discern whether we believe there are sustainable racial justice end points or only transitory racial justice journeys. In practice, we may have to concomitantly discern whether structural changes can be gained via concerted planning and mobilization, or whether the only achievable ends are self-actualizing insights found during moments of resistance. Accordingly, this article examines the tension between these CRT viewpoints, and opens an inquiry into whether the tension may be resolved by pursuing Racial Justice Strategic Planning (RJSP), which fuses racial justice principles with a complementary strategic planning approach. To help frame this inquiry, the recent #blacklivesmatter movement is considered.